book tag · health

The Stay At Home Tag!

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I was browsing around and found this tag which was created by Princess of Paperback. It seemed appropriate especially with the current state of the world, where I presume most of us are still for the most part spending quarantine at home as best as we can. So without further ado, my answers to the Stay At Home Tag!


1. Laying in Bed – book you could/have read in a day

The last book that I read in a day was Miracle on Cherry Hill by Sun-Mi Hwang. This was actually a book that I had to read, so that I could write a short review on it but I ended up being glued to the book until I finished it the next morning.

2. Snacking – guilty pleasure book

I don’t really have any guilty pleasure books that I read.. Every book that i’ve read at the time that I read them – for the most part, I wanted to read. I’m not the biggest re-reader, so there aren’t really any books that I go to back to because i find them guilty pleasures, if i do go back to them, it’s because it’s a pleasure to do so.

3. Netflix – series you want to start

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – There are only two books in the series so far, but the author has written other series so if I end up liking this one then it might lead me to try out some of those. A colleague of mine loves her writing and as someone who doesn’t read young adult fiction any more, she recommended that I give this one a go. It’s now on my long but slightly shrinking TBR list.

I’m also currently giving The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher a go, there are 17 books in the series so far and i’m now on book three. I’m really liking the characters and the world building but there is so much violence and dare I say it too much action!

4. Deep Clean – been on your TBR for ages

So many, you wouldn’t believe it. I literally have a pile as tall as me (i’m around 5’7) in my bedroom of books that I have yet to read.  Some of the oldest books on my shelves are probably the one or two books I decided not to read for a university class.

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5. Animal Crossing – book you recently bought because of hype

Hmm, i’m not really a buy a book because of hype person anymore. There are times that I do but the most recent I remember buying because so many customers at the bookshop I work(ed) at always gush about, is Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. I guess you can also count YOU by Caroline Kepnes, the TV show was getting a lot of buzz, so I watched and really enjoyed it (it’s fantastically creepy and for some bizarre reason – that i can’t actually describe you – end up rooting for the antagonist). So on that alone, I decided to buy the book.

6. Productivity – book you learnt from or had an impact on you

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This might seem like a weird one, Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. It didn’t change my life or anything but it was the first time in a while, whilst reading a book that I felt like I fully understood a character (Danny Torrence). All the decisions he made, his motivations. his weakness’, everything. It’s got the characteristics of a bildungsroman – which is one of my favourite types of books and there was a genuine sincerity to King’s writing. I remember reading the last chapter and feeling sad but happy that Danny’s story was ending – his character arc felt entirely complete.

7. Facetime – A book you were gifted

My brother bought me The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan a while a go, I started but I haven’t gotten around to finishing it – it’s the type of book where I need to concentrate as there are so many facts and bits of information that I want to remember. As of now it’s sat on my TBR pile.

8. Self Care – what is one thing you have done recently to look after yourself

This whole pandemic has really tested me. I think i’ve now gotten to some level of acceptance that life at least for a while will not be the same again. Recently i’ve taken to cooking, from going out to the supermarket, picking out ingredients and cooking it. It really passes the time and i’ve made some pretty good food (in my opinion 😀 )

BONUS – Name an upcoming book that you’re looking forward to.

Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith, to be published on the 15th of September 2020.

❝ Troubled Blood is the next thrilling instalment in the highly acclaimed, international bestselling series featuring Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott, written by Robert Galbraith, a pseudonym of J.K. Rowling.❞

I’ve read the first four books and have been really enjoying the series so far. This instalment is (in hardback form) 944 pages! I have no idea what kind of crime novel needs that many pages, but I hope it’s just as good as the others!

 


If you feel like giving this tag a go, consider yourself tagged!! 🙂 

Hope you’re all keeping safe and are doing well!

Grace x

 

books · Lifestyle · Literature

Fiction TBR 2020 – UPDATE

NOTE:
– I actually intended on making this a post way back in January.
– The list of books below will feature why I initially wanted to read each book and then why I still (as of today) have or have not read said book.

 

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This was my fiction TBR list that I came up with at the start of the year and as I predicted, other books managed to creep their way into my life and time, henceforth partially ruining the goals that I had set myself during my new, nee me phase. Lol. However, I have managed to finish two books: Lethal White and The Book of Phoenix and are currently half way through two others. So all is fortunately not lost.

· The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R Tolkien – I’ve been wanting to read this for so long! I also need to read more fantasy. This is basically the staple fantasy classic, having already read The Hobbit and not enjoyed it, I guess i’m kind of worried that I won’t enjoy the series. – NOT READ

· Lethal White by Robert Galbraith – I bought the hardback and I think the thought of carrying it around has made me reluctant to start reading it. I liked this book. However, lthough I wanted to find out ‘whodunit’, I found myself being much more invested in the characters than the plot. – READ

· The Plotters by Kim Un-Su – This was recommend to me. They sold it to me so well that I bought it a few days later! It haven’t felt the urge to pick this one up just yet. – NOT READ

· Doctor Sleep by Stephen King – I loved The Shining so I’m really hoping this will be just as good too! – I’m around two thirds of the way through and so far I like it, I like The Shining better but we’ll see how the ending pans out. – READING

· The Book of the Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor – I picked this up after reading the blurb and the first few pages, which is always a good sign! The plot is a little generic and the writing style was not my favourite but I absolutely LOVED the characters. – READ

· Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Tawaguchi – This book has one of the most fascinating time travel concepts that I’ve read about! I’m a 1/4 of the way through and although it was a slow start, the intricacies of the time travel are so fascinating. – READING

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I hope you’re all staying safe, sane and if you celebrate, had a Happy Easter!

Grace.

 


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book tag · books

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For my first official post of the year i’m going to do the ‘Books That Made Me’ tag, which is a weekly segment where the Guardian interviews authors on the books that made them. I’m not officially a writer but I really liked the questions they asked so I thought it’d be a good tag to start the year off with.

So without further adieu… here are the books that made me.

The book I wish I’d written
The surest way to spoil enjoyment of a book is by writing it, so i’ll just be glad I got to read all those masterpieces rather than having to write them”. — Sara Collins
Pretty much sums up how I feel about this question… I guess I also wouldn’t want someone to write a book with any of the ideas that I have.

The book that had the greatest influence on me?
Probably 1984, because it taught me how books can be used to critique, comment or challenge the ‘world order’. I was around 16 when I first read this book and it really opened my eyes to how powerful stories can be not just to a particular individual but to groups of people. It was both a frightening and enlightening discovery to my young brain – It made me consider not just how a writer was able to come up with a story but why they were writing it.no-place-to-sit

The book that is most underrated
I don’t think it’s completely underrated but I feel like people don’t talk enough about how wonderful of a book Jane Eyre is. I’m so glad that I got to study it at school, I hope that it’s still taught in schools.

The book that changed my mind
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. I hadn’t really read much 20th century American literature with black characters and a lot of what I learned in school about America at the time was slavery and the civil rights movement, and as jarring as this may sound, I wasn’t really aware that there were fiction books that existed about black people that weren’t solely about racism. It was essentially the first bildungsroman i’d read about a black character. Although it does touch on racism and colourism throughout, it’s a story about a woman who wants more for herself, who falls in love, makes mistakes, grows from them and so much more. Long story short, it made me more interested in American literature with black characters.

The last book that made me cry
Books don’t really make me cry but the last book I do remember having a good weep at was The Fault in Our Stars which I read maybe seven years ago.

The last book that made me laugh
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. Probably the funniest book I’ve read.

The book I couldn’t finish
There’s many on this list, a lot of them aren’t because I’ve lost interest or just haven’t had the time to get back to them. A book that I recently stopped reading on purpose was Marlon James’ Black Leopard, Red Wolf. I just didn’t connect to the main character and I found the writing difficult to get through, the characters speak in soliloquies or in parables and it’s honestly such a task to get through. I feel like if I have the constant need to read the SparkNotes of a book then maybe that book isn’t that good? Or maybe i’m just not smart enough.

stillnessThe book I’m most ashamed not to have read
I wouldn’t say there’s any specific book but when ever someone brings up a highly revered author or book (none come to mind at the moment) I always feel a level of shame for not having no knowledge of their writing.

My earliest reading memory
Reading these Dinosaur series books when I was in reception. They were kind of like the Biff and Chip books you read to help with your reading but I can’t for the life of me remember who they were written by. I just remember loving them because he went on so many cool adventures.

My comfort read
(Again) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. Her writing is so beautiful and effortless. Also the Harry Potter series because it’s familiar and it’s always a good read.

The book I most often give as a gift
Natives by Akala, Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami, or book tokens.

The book I’d most like to be remembered for
If I ever finish it, the fantasy story that I started writing a few years ago.

That’s all for now, have a good weekend! 🙂

graceY

 


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book tag · books · Life

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New Year

It’s been a while, much longer than a while since I last blogged, but I want to make up for that this year. I know it’s on trend with the new year hype but i’m hoping to stick to it this time around because I genuinely miss writing.

So for my first post in over a year, here are a couple of goals that i’d like to focus on during the year:

 

  •   READ MORE
    I don’t read as much as I want to. Procrastination is unfortunately my kryptonite.

 

  •  STOP BUYING BOOKS
    I buy books that end up sitting on my shelves for months sometimes years without me opening them up to read. It also doesn’t help that I work in a bookshop where i get amazing discounts.

 

  • GIVE FANTASY A GO
    I’m not the biggest fantasy fan but I do love a few of the staples from the genre I.e. Harry Potter (books) The Lord of the Rings (films) and most recently The Witcher (Tv Show), so i’d like to give this genre a genuine try.

 

  • STOP BEING A PERFECTIONIST
    I struggle a lot with this when it comes to my blog posts, and it’s a part of why I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve got a couple of book reviews and book tags that are sat in my drafts unfinished because I don’t think they’re good enough to post.

 

  • BOOKSTAGRAM
    Like with my blog posts, I stopped posting as frequently because I didn’t think the photos or reviews were good enough to post. I also miss interacting with other fellow bookstagrammers.

 

  • READ ONE FICTION BOOK A MONTH
    This is a personal new years resolution I set myself. I can be a slow reader, so i’m hoping i can stick to it. I’ll probably do a tbr list of some of the book i want to read this year.

 

  • READ ONE NON-FICTION BOOK A MONTH
    This is also another one of my resolutions. I’ve got a couple of books that i’ve bought but of course haven’t started reading yet – i’m hoping that by setting my self this goal will help me get me through some of these. I also like to learn so there’s that too.

 

Hopefully i’ll look back on this post 6 months from now and will have at least managed to achieve half of these. I’m typing this whilst I have time off work, and feeling optimistic. Life as I’ve learned over the past few years ‘adulting’ can become very busy and I no longer have my fresh early 20 something year old brain and will power. With that being said, i’m glad I’ve made these goals, i’ll try to stick to them, I hope you do too if you’ve made any too, whatever they are! See you in my next post! And here’s to a new decade and the year 2020!

Grace 🙂

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Book Reviews · books · Literature

Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment: Book Review – Does the Punishment Fit the Crime??

Mild Spoilers Ahead!

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This is going to be a long one.
Where Do I Begin…

Let me start with the Synopsis: Crime and Punishment follows a character called Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, a poor, depressed ex-university student who decides he wants to commit a murder. The rest of the novel explores the consequences of his actions.

I wanted to read this book because I hadn’t yet read any Russian Literature, I also (after reading the synopsis) wanted to decide whether Dostoyevsky’s summation of a crime and its punishment was a reasonable one.


“I wanted to become a Napoleon, that is why I killed her…”

The most important thing to note about Raskolnikov’s decision to commit a murder is that he does so because he believes that there are certain types of people in this world who can and are able to somehow overstep the boundaries of the law. What’s more is that these persons essentially have the right to commit such breaches of morality and crime for the sake of the greater good of humanity. Raskolnikov believes himself to be one of these people… until that is, he commits a murder – a double murder, and almost immediately descends into a psychological breakdown.

THE POSITIVES: Dostoyevsky’s portrayals of his characters:
Raskolnikov is such a fascinating character: he has an incredible superiority complex but he’s also very compassionate which considering his abhorrent actions, is very strange. There are countless examples which depict both of those traits throughout the novel and even more-so the latter of the two – even prior to committing the murders. Moreover, even during his bouts of mania, he is pragmatic and very matter of fact, especially when it comes to the well being of his family and best friend.

And so the question begs… What is he? He’s not a psychopath, I don’t think he’s a sociopath… (maybe a little) – could he just be a person who decided to do a terrible thing? Though he only admits to feeling guilty towards the end of the novel, his thoughts and actions throughout the story prove otherwise. As a result Raskolnikov concludes that hehad no right to have taken that step.” I wonder if Dostoyevsky, genuinely believed in this theory.
There are also other characters throughout the novel who some (despite Raskolnikov’s actions) may describe as worse individuals – I certainly can name a few; which is interesting because murder, especially in the way that Dostoyevsky chose it to be carried out, is typically the worst thing you can do.

Another thing that I liked was the diverse portrayal of women in this novel – there are many that are scattered throughout, both in passing and in significant ways. There are good women and bad women, strange women and terrible women – and though the significant ones are in one way or another, tied to the men around them and subscribe to certain stereotypes they are all shown to have their own agency and are written in a believable way.

THE NEGATIVES: This book is long! (633 Kindle pages long!) It became, particularly during the middle of the novel, somewhat of a task to get through – I wouldn’t have gotten through it in the time that I had, had I not taken part in the 25 in Five challenge last month. There’s also a lot of mention to different social movements and philosophies that certain characters subscribe to, which at times, I felt detracted from the main story – i’m not too well-versed in these topics but they did add to the understanding of some characters and to some extent the views of Dostoyevsky himself.

I’m not too sure what I was expecting by the end of this book, it came to the conclusion that I suspected it would, but as for the character of Raskolnikov, though I feel like he understood that he is not “a Napoleon”, I never got the impression that he truly regretted his actions,. He seemed to be more disappointed by that fact that his mind and body rejected his grand approach and just wasn’t able to accept the pressures of the crime he’d committed. So maybe he is a bit of a sociopath?

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book if you want to give Russian Literature a go. I actually would have loved to have studied this book when I took English Literature at university because there’s honestly a lot more that I wanted to write about in this review. If you’re not too fond of philosophy but you’re interested in reading Dostoyevsky, i’d definitely say that both the want to discover whether Raskolnikov gives himself up and the decision as to what essentially is the right punishment for such a crime is enough for the story to remain intriguing throughout.

I’m looking forward to reading more Russian Literature in the future! Also I can now spell Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s name without looking it up! 🙂

4.4 / 5

 


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Book Reviews · Lifestyle

Back To Blogging! ⌨🖱 – An Update!

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M I N I  U P D A T E !

First of all, Hi! I hope you’re all having a good start to the week! I’m back to blogging after having taken an unintentional month and a half – almost 2 month long break. It’s actually a bit of a big deal for me because this is the longest i’ve gone without writing anything in over a year.

The weather in England has for the past two  and a half months, been unusually hot and humid, to the point where people across the country (including myself) were for once excited at the sight of rain. As much as I enjoy the Summer weather, i’d had enough and fortunately, as I type this the weather has finally cooled down and I no longer desperately dread using public transport. Anyways enough about the weather (I had to write about it because it was so unusual for England).

So, what have I been up to then if I haven’t been writing? Sadly, nothing too exciting. July was a month of meh, whilst August has, and fingers crossed, will continue to be a really good month for me. I don’t want to talk about what those good things are just yet because I don’t want to jinx it, but when things settle down a bit, you’ll hear all about it!

 

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WHAT DID I READ?

IMG_20180727_090203_321Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín : Mini Review

The story follows a young woman called Eilis who emigrates to America from Ireland during the 1950s to seek better employment opportunities.

Tóibín’s writing style was easy to get through, the characters were well written and I liked the dialogue as well as the vernaculars used for different characters. The only thing I didn’t like were the jumps in time – I felt like the film captured Eilis’ emotional journey slightly better in the movie, the quick elapses in time made her emotions come across as more fleeting than visceral. I actually would have preferred if the book were longer and had included scenes and more details about certain characters to flesh them out even further.

Overall, I really liked Brooklyn. It was a nice and easy read, and I would definitely recommend it if any of you have been, or are feeling homesick, Tóibín does a good job of relating this experience. 3.9/5

 

WHAT AM I READING?

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To speed up my reading for this month I decided to take part in #25INFIVE which is a Readathon where you read for 25 hours over five days.

I’d been reading Crime and Punishment on and off for around 3 months and knew that I could have finished it a lot sooner. I’d also kind of been neglecting Call Me By Your Name, believe it or not because of the heat – lack of sleep meant that I couldn’t concentrate on reading. To be honest, I was kind of sceptical about my own reading abilities – unless i’ve been highly anticipating a book, i’m kind of a slowish reader. I actually found it a little challenging in the beginning especially because of work and at times my lack of attention. However, by day 3 which thankfully fell on a weekend, I was able to get back on track and get a lot of reading done.

Overall, for my very first readathon, I was surprisingly able to read around 22.5 hours, which is SO much more than I thought I would do. I finally finished Crime and Punishment and I got half way through Call Me By Your Name!

** I’ll have a review for Crime and Punishment up soon – I have soooo many opinions lol. As for CMBYN I’m not sure if I entirely like Elio… (to be continued).**

 

WHAT HAVE I BEEN WATCHING:

Westworld, (A show about a futuristic theme park containing androids who develop consciousness) ended around a month ago, and if you’re like me, then image below is probably the best representation of how I feel about the show – confused. confused BernardDon’t get me wrong I like Westworld – I love the cinematography, the acting and the score but in regards to the story so far – I still can’t establish who wants what and why i’m supposed to care… There’s something missing from this show, and I think a lot of it has to do with me not caring about a majority of  the characters. Call me unintelligent for not fully understanding the show, but I just don’t feel like reading a bunch of articles or listening to podcasts and watching a ton of videos to understand what is going on, because ultimately I want to enjoy television not be confused by it.

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I’ve also started watching the show Sharp Objects which is an adaptation of a book written by Gillian Flynn. The best way I can describe the show is that it’s a modern southern Gothic, which follows a character called Camille who returns to her small hometown to report on a series of murders. So far I like it, its different to anything i’ve watched in a while. Even though i’ve read and enjoyed one of Gillian Flynn’s novels before (Gone Girl), I don’t think i’ll be reading this one, the topic is a little too graphic for me. The show however is very intriguing and the acting and the suspense is just amazing.

 

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That’s it for now, I thought i’d have more interesting things to say but that’s it.

Are you a fan of Westworld? Has anyone read Crime and Punishment or are reading it and finding it slightly tedious to get through? Or if you’ve read Call Me By Your Name what do you think of Elio? And did any of you watch Brooklyn first before reading it? Would you recommend reading Sharp Objects?

Let me know! 🙂

I’m back to posting regularly, see you in my next post!

— Grace

 


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book tag · books · Tag

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I Want To Read/Continue 📚

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and The Bookish which has since moved to another lovely blog called – That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week features a different prompt where you come up with a list of ten books or ideas. This week’s Top Ten is Books Series I’ve Given Up On/Don’t Plan to Finish. Because i’m pretty definite when I decide to not continue reading a book/series, I thought i’d change this weeks prompt into Series I Want To Read or Continue.


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1⋅ Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle – I really enjoyed the first book, it was different than I imagined (because of the TV show) and I love Sherlock’s unique detective style. I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series which i’ve already bought!

2⋅ Strike Series by Robert Galbraith – These are in my top 5 favourite series of all time already, I love the characters and that it’s set in London. Right now i’m just waiting (impatiently) for the 4th in the series ‘Lethal White’ to be released some time this year.

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3⋅ His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman – I know absolutely nothing about this series but my friend constantly recommends this book series to me. (Hi Michael if you’re reading this). We have similar reading tastes, so I’m hoping that I enjoy this series as much as he does and says I will.

4⋅ The Dark Tower series by Stephen King – I heard about this series during the release of its recent film adaptation which I enjoyed and have since, after reading about how unhappy fans were that they added a bunch of plot points from other books into the film, wanted to get a clearer picture of the story.

5⋅ The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher – This was recommended to me because of how much I love Harry Potter – the main character is also a wizard. I’ve also read a couple of the books synopsis and it reminds me of a divisive Netflix movie called Bright – not the characters so much but the world-building, which i’m looking forward to reading about.

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6⋅ The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R Tolkien – I didn’t enjoy ‘The Hobbit‘ but I’m still fascinated enough to want to read the trilogy. The films are amazing, and i’ve always wanted to have a better understanding of their world and know more about the characters. I Hope I like Gandalf, because I didn’t in ‘The Hobbit’.

7⋅ The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis – I first read the ‘Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe’ a couple of years ago only to discover that it wasn’t the first in the series. Ever since then i’ve wanted to start over and continue the books in the right order.


 

Honourable mention: The Giver series by Lois Lowry – I was going to put this on my list but I remember myself being bored reading  (book1) it. The dystopian world was very interesting but the story just didn’t grab me the way I wanted it to.

 

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Are any of these on your series that you want to read/continue? Let me know if you do or don’t enjoy them!

— Grace

 


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